Old Nat Moyer is a talker, a philosopher, and a troublemaker with a fanciful imagination. His companion is Midge Carter, who is half-blind, but still the super of an apartment house. When ... See full summary »
Care-free Charlie cons his widower brother-in-law Herb into an expenses-paid luxury cruise in search of rich, lonely ladies. The catch is that they are required to be dance hosts! With a tyrannical cruise director, and the luscious Liz and lovely Vivian, our heroes have lots of mis-adventures before they finally return to port.Written by
Derek Picken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After the making of GRUMPY OLD MEN and GRUMPIER OLD MEN, the box office success of those two films made it evident that another film property co-starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau was needed. They found one property, THE GRASS HARP, where they shared one scene together. But then this film was made which was fully their film together.
Like most of their films Lemmon is the quiet partner who is dragged into the troublesome situation by the noisy partner Matthau. Here they are brother-in-laws (Matthau's sister, who is dead). Matthau convinces Lemmon that he needs to take a sea cruise to end his long period of mourning. Lemmon does not realize that Matthau got them free passage by signing them onto the cruise as social dancers (partners for elderly lady passengers). Lemmon can dance, but Matthau cannot, and one scene has Lemmon trying to teach Matthau, only to be caught by Donald O'Connor and Hal Linden dancing together (O'Connor and Linden jumping to the wrong conclusion). If they can't pull their weight as social dancers, they will have to pay the $1,500.00 per person fare as travelers. Neither can afford that. Matthau really could not care much about this - he hopes that he will be lucky to find, romance, and marry a wealthy woman. Lemmon is encouraged to do the same, but he is not as mercenary. As it turns out Lemmon does meet Gloria De Haven, and Matthau meets Dyan Cannon (and her mother, Elaine Stritch). But the course to true love is never smooth in movies. Matthau has a rival for Cannon, in Edward Mulhare. And Brent Spiner, the cruise entertainment director, is an evil martinet determined to impress the cruise line owner (Rue McLanahan) to put him in control of all the cruise ship's entertainment centers.
It is a well-cast film, which helps (this is reminiscent of the two "Grumpies" films that preceded it. But those films had better balance to them. They had moments of pathos where one could see Lemmon and Matthau were not just funny men but human types. Here Lemmon is shown to have such a weakness - he has romanced De Haven in spite of his qualms, but at a critical point remembers his deep love for his first wife. But Matthau's personality is so mercenary (a "cousin" to his "Whiplash Willie Gingrich" in THE FORTUNE COOKIE), that his turning into a legitimate lover of Cannon doesn't quite sit well. Nor does it sit well when we find other likable characters can be equally mercenary.
However there are plenty of great moments in the film. Spiner's unplanned involvement with a colorful local parade is one. So is Matthau's ridiculous dance with Rue McLanahan that looks atrocious (he calls his non-steps, "the crawl")but that she enjoys. Spiner, better known as "Mr. Data" the android in STAR TREK, THE NEXT GENERATION, turns in a fine comic villain performance. My only criticism is that Linden and O'Connor seem too peripheral in the plot (although both do give filler about the ruthlessness of Spiner, whom Linden really dislikes). But the film is still very amusing, and worth while seeing. Unfortunately it was not their final film. That would be THE ODD COUPLE II.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this